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Cannabinoids 2008;3(2):4-7 (22 June 2008)

Mini-review

Animal research highlights a therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of depression

Regina A. Mangieri

Department of Pharmacology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA, reginamangieri@mail.utexas.edu

Long known for their mood altering effects, cannabinoids are currently under investigation for their therapeutic potential in the treatment of depression. Findings from multiple areas of basic re-search indicate that this system is indeed a viable target for novel antidepressant drugs. Rodent models of depression have been shown to alter levels of the endogenous cannabinoids and the cannabinoid CB1 receptor, implicating this system in the etiology of depression. Additionally, can-nabinoid drugs have demonstrated efficacy in rodent tests for antidepressant drug-like activity, and these effects appear to share common mechanisms of action with current antidepressant drugs, such as the selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Thus, although the effects of cannabinoids on depression in humans remain to be elucidated, animal studies have provided impetus to further pursue this line of clinical research.

Keywords
cannabinoid, depression, antidepressant, endocannabinoid, serotonin, cannabis

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